Mediterranean recluse spider

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Mediterranean recluse spider
Loxosceles rufescens2.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Sicariidae
Genus: Loxosceles
L. rufescens
Binomial name
Loxosceles rufescens
(Dufour, 1820)[1]
  • Scytodes rufescens Dufour, 1820
  • Omosita rufescens (Dufour, 1820)
  • Loxosceles citigrada Heineken & Lowe, 1832
  • Scytodes erythrocephala C. L. Koch, 1838
  • Loxosceles erythrocephala (C.L. Koch, 1838)
  • Scytodes distincta Lucas, 1846
  • Loxosceles distincta (Lucas, 1846)
  • Scytodes pallida Blackwall, 1865
  • Spermophora comoroensis Butler, 1879
  • Loxosceles compactilis Simon, 1881
  • Loxosceles marylandicus Muma, 1944
  • Loxosceles indrabeles Tikader, 1963
  • Loxosceles alicea Gertsch, 1967

Loxosceles rufescens, the Mediterranean recluse spider, originated in the Mediterranean region as its name implies,[2] but is now found worldwide.[1]

Like other species of the genus Loxosceles, bites from the Mediterranean recluse spider can have dangerous effects, causing skin lesions – a condition known as loxoscelism.[2] Despite co-occurrence with humans for millennia, there is only a single report of a human fatality linked to a bite from this species, a case report from 2016 in which no spider was captured for a confirmed identification, and in which the victim suffered from an autoimmune disorder (myasthenia gravis).[3]

This species is considered a cosmopolitan "tramp" species, with widely-scattered occurrences worldwide, including numerous sightings in the United States, where it is commonly confused with the brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa); the two species are superficially almost indistinguishable, and misidentifications are common.[4] For instance, in February 2021, the capture of a few Mediterranean recluse spiders in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library at the University of Michigan resulted in its two-day closure.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Taxon details Loxosceles rufescens (Dufour, 1820)", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2016-10-06
  2. ^ a b Barnes, Jeffrey K. (2003), Brown recluse and Mediterranean recluse spiders, University of Arkansas Arthropod Museum, retrieved 2018-04-18
  3. ^ Pezzi M, Giglio AM, Scozzafava A, Filippelli O, Serafino G, Verre M. Spider Bite: A Rare Case of Acute Necrotic Arachnidism with Rapid and Fatal Evolution. Case Reports in Emergency Medicine. 2016;2016:7640789. doi:10.1155/2016/7640789.
  4. ^ Albert Greene, Nancy L. Breisch, Thomas Boardman, Benedict B. Pagac, Edward Kunickis, Randall K. Howes, Paul V. Brown (2009) The Mediterranean Recluse Spider, Loxosceles rufescens (Dufour): An Abundant but Cryptic Inhabitant of Deep Infrastructure in the Washington, D.C. Area (Arachnida: Araneae: Sicariidae). American Entomologist 55(3): 158–169
  5. ^ Christine Hauser [ "Need a Book With That Spider? The discovery of Mediterranean recluse spiders at the University of Michigan prompted a two-day closure of one of its libraries"], The New York Times, New York, 26 February 2021. Retrieved on 27 February 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to Loxosceles rufescens at Wikimedia Commons